Message from the CEO: 5-4-20

As we continue to battle COVID-19, it is important that each of us tends to our own health. This includes going for walks and getting exercise, as well as finding ways to relax and refresh during such a stressful time.
Taking care of ourselves also means going to the doctor, clinic or hospital – and yes, it is both safe and smart to do that when you are sick or need care.
Vermont’s health care providers—like those throughout the country—have changed a lot to respond to COVID-19. It is important to know that those changes ensure our readiness. Hospitals and their affiliated physician offices, clinics and practices are open and prepared to welcome and treat patients safely.
Screening procedures and visiting policies have been adopted to minimize the spread of infection. Health care workers and visitors are wearing masks to protect themselves and others. New tents and triage sites help with proper isolation of patients who may be infected. And social distancing measures ensure we maintain the buffer required to prevent virus transmission.
Despite hospitals and physicians being available and safe, we know that many people are delaying or avoiding needed care, including for serious symptoms like chest pain or sudden loss of balance, that demand urgent attention. We urge you not to risk your health and get the care you need. Additionally, if a family member or loved one is reluctant to get care, help them realize there is no need to steer clear of hospitals, clinics and doctors' offices. Doing so could cause illnesses to advance and become much more serious. 
Patients with chronic conditions should continue their ongoing care, whether in the office or via telemedicine. Prenatal and urgent care is still available. We should all call our doctors to address a new concern. And hospital emergency rooms are open and safe for those experiencing symptoms like shortness of breath, trouble walking, slurred speech, bad cuts and burns, or possibly broken bones.
Even as they manage COVID-19, providers throughout our state stand ready to do what they have always done: deliver safe, effective care to Vermonters.
At this uncertain time, it is vital we pay attention to the health of ourselves and our families. Vermont’s system of care has changed because of COVID-19, as so many things have, but it remains strong and safe—and ready to care for you and those you love.
Stay healthy out there, and enjoy the warmer weather coming our way!
Jeff Tieman
VAHHS President and CEO